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Hurtle down the slopes


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Why....ski?
Getting started
How do I get started?
Kit and caboodle
Recommended reading
Spoil yourself
Holidays and Vacations
Getting more out of....skiing
I've got the basics, what next?



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Why....ski?

You don't go skiing just for the skiing. You go for the glorious mountain scenery, the amazing air, the chance to really get away from it all and the apres-ski, of course.

Why Ski? - Adrenalin

Get exhilarated by the steep, tough runs. Discover that you love the feeling of skiing through deep powder. Maybe you'll turn out to be a whiz at mogul fields - bumpy runs that look like a giant mole has been at work. You could be a schuss monster, relishing any chance to just point your skis downhill and go hell for leather.

The pure excitement of speed on hot skis burning through soft snow is unforgettable. You won't even be thinking about how you're going to stop at the bottom. Maybe you will carve a few turns as you swing round the curves of a giant piste, perhaps you'll shrink to a racing tuck with your skis flattened, and your fists held out in front of you.

You take a curve in the piste and then see the slope fall away from you, you accelerate beyond your speed of control and hang on for dear life as you bounce over the ridges of the lower slope. Franz Klammer eat your heart out!

It isn't until you reach the bottom that you realise how hard your body has been working. Your back aches from the tightness of the tuck, your thigh muscles burn and you're gasping for breath. But at least it is the sharply cold and fresh air of the mountains. Look back at the mountain you raced down and admire the awesome power of nature.

Why Ski? - Sensuality

Imagine cruising down one of the wide, well-groomed 'motorway' pistes. Taking in the mountain air - enjoying the heat of the sun and the cool air in your face. Stop at one of the beautiful mountain cafes for a hot chocolate or a gluwein.

Whatever your inclination, mastering the art of skiing is deeply satisfying for the soul - and good for your body too!

Like the first time you manage to ski down a whole run without stopping, arriving at the bottom with a glowing face and burning thighs. When you glance up a slope that looks unbelievably steep from below and realise that you have just come down it. Being suspended in a chair lift travelling slowly above the slopes, looking out over a vast bowl of glittering snow. Skiing down in the silence of an empty run, lined with snow covered pine tree, and looking back to see only your tracks.

From the first time you slide inexpertly down a nursery slope to the moment when you tackle your first black run, you'll never feel bored or complacent. The learning curve is continuous and while you are in the mountains, the world outside ceases to exist. It's the perfect way to switch off from everyday concerns. You're too busy concentrating on what's ahead of you!

Don't forget the unbeatable experiences beyond the skiing, too. How about sipping beer and listening to a live R&B; band on a restaurant terrace, surrounded by snow capped mountain peaks, under the bluest sky you have ever seen? Looking out across a mountain range that fills the whole horizon and watching the clouds drift by beneath you? Or the strange experience of sitting in a deckchair getting a sun tan at -4oC?

Perhaps best of all, the apres-ski brings out the best in people. A wonderful group spirit descends every evening over dinner, a din and hubbub of ruddy faces and cheery spirits. The food tastes divine and you find in yourself a hunger that you never thought possible. Sample the local dishes including raclette for the glories of mountain cheese and the obligatory clove cocktail from the Alps called Gluwein.

Tell us what got you interested in skiing.



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Getting started

No matter who or what you are, you can learn to ski. If you picked up a musical instrument for the very first time, you would probably be able to make a noise, but you wouldn't know how to play it. Skiing is similar. It's exciting from day one, but the more you practice, the more you get to do. That's why people go skiing year after year.

Skiing on marked pistes is very safe and youíll see people of all ages from 4/5 year olds to 90 year olds taking to the slopes. Skiing can also be an extreme activity, but only if you choose. Check our advice on getting the right safety balance.

You don't have to be fit or sporty. People of all shapes, sizes, fitness levels and sporting ability take to the slopes. But it does help if you prepare for your skiing holiday by taking some exercise.

If your friends or family are already experienced, don't let that put you off going with them. Once you are at the resort, join a ski school and take lessons during the day with other beginners. There are always plenty of people just starting out, so there's an opportunity to make some new friends while you learn. Check our recommendations for getting fit and having fun as a beginner or gentle skier.

Lots of people go skiing with disabilities ranging from a fear of heights or wearing glasses to people who are blind or without a limb. Many such people have found ways to ski to a very high standard.

Ski holidays vary tremendously in price, depending on the resort, the time of year, the quality of accommodation and transport etc. A base figure is around £550 for one week, but this could go up to £1000+ - it depends on whether you want the Rolls Royce version or the Mini! Check out our recommendations on how you can best manage the cost


What do I need to do?

  • Choose a resort
  • choose a date
  • book
  • go!

Ski-ing is a great way to get to know people. If you are going by yourself you can often meet people in your chalet that you can ski with. Perhaps best of all is to join a group of like-minded people with a similar level of skiing skill and take a chalet together.

Now youíve got the basics there are four basic decisions to make:

Who will I go with?Join a group or start your own. (Key tip: make sure that everyone has someone to ski with of their own level. Check out our message board to meet up with other skiers from complete novice to absolute expert)
Who will train me?You will find professional ski tutors and ski schools at every resort, offering either group training or one-to-one classes.

If you want to take some tuition in the UK, visit this site for a list of dry ski slope centres.

You can also pick up great tips on ski technique from books and videos, as well as the Internet!

When do I go?The main skiing season runs from Christmas/New Year through to Easter. Conditions vary depending on the time of year. Generally, you get more and better snow - deep, fluffy powder with no ice - if you go earlier in the year, but it can be pretty cold.

If you go towards Easter, there may be less snow and it may not be in such great shape, but the sun is more likely to be shining. If you do go late in the season, it's best to choose a resort that is higher up in the mountains - 2000m is a good benchmark.

You can also go summer skiing! Summer skiing is a more limited affair, generally confined to resorts that have glaciers. Prices are generally more expensive. But it gives you two holidays in one! Ski in the morning and take in other activities in the afternoon - tennis, watersports, and mountain walking or just lazing in the sun.

Where do I go?It's amazing just how many countries and continents offer skiing - including Eastern and Eastern Europe, US/Canada, South America and Australia/New Zealand. The largest and most well developed ski centres are those in France, Germany, Austria and Italy, together with US/Canada.

If you want a taste of skiing, or can't wait until the ski season comes round, why not try out an artificial ski slope? Dry ski centres are located all over the UK, offering one-to-one beginners' tuition, including lessons for children.

(Sports Disclaimer)



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Getting more out of....skiing

Get more out of skiing, by:

  • going more often
  • venturing off-piste
  • trying slalom
  • ski-jumping ????



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Kit and caboodle

Need a good book, video or more advice? JoJaffa has picked out the best for you. For each book/ video just click on the amazon link find out the price and get more information.

If you can suggest any good books about skiing, let us know.

Recommended Reading

Book : The Good Skiing & Snowboarding Guide 2000
by Peter Hardy, Felice Eyston Reviews
Recommended by the Ski Club of Great Britain, The Good Skiing and Snowboarding Guide 2000 is the bible of the sport. Having been around since 1985 and upgraded constantly over the last 15 years, it now covers almost 600 resorts worldwide. So what ever your looking for, this is the guide to help you choose the best resort for you. (Good sections on Apres Ski and resort facilities for non skiiers too).

The guide starts with a concise "at-a-glance" listings section called "Simply the Best". In this section resorts are listed under the headings Beginners, Intermediates and Experts, mirroring the recognised piste categories. Other heading such as Moguls, E

Amazon UKin association with...Amazon US

Book : Chalet Guide: 1997-1998
by Ski Club of Great Britain
By the renowned SkiClub of Great Britain, an independent guides to chalets. Equally valuable for beginners, intermediates and expert too. The place to begin your search for the ideal resort.

The word 'Snowboarding' has been tacked onto the end of this excellent guide. If youíre looking for a skierís guide to the resorts - then this is the best - not so hot for the snowboarder

Amazon UKin association with...

Book : Inner Skiing
by W. Timothy Gallwey, Robert Kriegel, Bob Kriegel
While on the slopes, take advantage of your most powerful muscle - the mind. The authors teach skiers how to relax, concentrate, banish unnecessary fears--and enjoy themselves. This revised edition of the skiing classic will give you the self-confidence to excel on the slopes and find real joy in this sport.

Amazon UKin association with...Amazon US

Book : The Bluffer's Guide to Skiing
by David Allsop
Fake it until you make it - the guide to looking good and sounding good - even thought you've never put a pair of skis on. Fun and humorous.

Amazon UKin association with...

Book : All-terrain Skiing
by Dan Egan
By famous extreme skier Dan Egan, this book is designed to help beginners, intermediate and advanced skiers to master skiing on all terrains

Amazon UKin association with...Amazon US

If it's snowboarding stuff and fashion you want - then check out Fogdog's snowboarding store:

If you prefer the skiers fashion and need ski equipment start at these sites:

Snow Shack - USA deliveries only
Gear Finder - great UK site for advice - no shop yet
The Snow Leopard - USA deliveries only



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Spoil yourself

Ah, now if you won the lottery this is the kind of skiing holiday you'd go for:

  • Luxury chalet
  • Full board
  • Ski to the door
  • Roaring log fires to greet you home

    Where would you go?

    Wengen - for beautiful scenery and idyllic mountain runs plus a resort completely free of all traffic. Eveyone takes the moutain railway which is a journey in itself. This wonderful swiss village region is full of legends and stories of exploration. All this beneath the Eiger, Munch and Yungfrau mountains - as the story goes, the monk stands between the ogre and the vigin.

    If you want to go further afield, then it'd have to Aspen, Colorado. Go for some of the best powder snow you'll find anywhere in the world.

    And who would you book it through? Well, if you don't have a favourite tour operator you could try Thomas Cook.



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    Open Outcry

    Got a question? Get an answer!

    Post a message to the skiing discussion board.

    You might just

    • have a general question about skiing?
    • want to make a comment
    • want to share tips and advice with fellow JoJaffa-ers?

    ... Then why not use our skiing chat board

    Maybe someone has already asked that burning question you're longing to find the answer to ...



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